All of the training, laps and routes since Ratho had lead up to this weekend. It was my second European Youth Cup and my first overseas competition and I was keen to do well. Imst is an incredible place, not only with the world class wall but the area!
We had the worst flight time in history, so a 4.30 am start meant a 6 hour wait in
airport for the rest of the team to
arrive. It went as slowly as expected but eventually we were on the road and
quickly arrived at Imst. Friday was filled by the alpine coaster and swimming
and comp day arrived rapidly. Munich
We woke up at 6:30 (5:30 in the
to be down at the wall for its 7:30 opening. I got straight to warming up as I
was on 7th for route 1. The route looked like a sketchy vertical
section with lots or terrible holds and rockovers, into a pumpy overhung
section before a roof to finish. The demo made it look as hard as we thought
and people were soon on the route. 2 climbers had got just above the donut hold
before the roof before it was my turn to climb, and I set off up the vertical
wall. Climbs often look harder from closer up, but this was not one of those
times and the first few clips were far easier than I expected. I moved through
to a big move to a sloper, then a few more moves led to a slight rest where I
found I could sit on my heel. Unfortunately this made the clip extremely
awkward, and it took me at least 3 goes to get it in! This looks quite a short
amount of time in the video, but it felt like an age and I was very pumped by
the time I got it in! I shook and composed myself, then set off! The next moves
were ok, and I stuck a hold that a couple of climbers had come off on, then my
forearms finally lost all ability to function and I was off! A match on a
double scoring hold had put me in 3rd when I came off, and this did
not go down much during the day, leaving me in equal 4th with Ruben
Route 2 was very pumpy, with very few rests and with my endurance not being the best it was going to be hard for me. Jim was on first and a hard long move around half way spat him off, so it defiantly wasn’t easy! I got on and cruised through the first few moves to a hard rockover which many had come off on, but got the wrong part of the hold so had to readjust. I stayed on and was soon at the best rest on the route. I shook and got ready, and tried to move onwards. I began to get very pumped on a big volume, and made it a few more moves until I couldn’t go any further, and came off going for a crimp, just a move before a good rest!
It was a poor performance which left me in 7th overall with over half the starters left to climb. I couldn’t cope with another 11th so the stressful wait began. I left and sat in the stands of the football club next to the wall, but I could still see the top of my route! Fortunately I didn’t see many emerge so stretched and listened to some music to try and make the time pass. I went back with just 10 climbers to go and I was on the edge in 8th place. Those 10 climbs were the most stressful of my life, and after the 7 of them I was in 10th. Just one good performance from the final 3 could leave me in 11th again and once again off the final. 1 off, then 2, then 3! I was relieved more than anything, but didn’t want to be too happy until I’d seen the results. I was there, 10th! My first European final at my first overseas competition and in such an amazing place too!
Now I had to prepare myself for the final. I had never gone for a second day in competition, so I wasn’t sure how to go about it, but a reasonably early bed and a good meal were as good as I could manage. I woke up tired and slightly drained, and warming up on routes I’d done previously I felt like I was getting pumped quickly and lacked something. Not the best start but the isolation was short as I was firs out so after observation I was on almost immediately. I climbed well in the start but a long press to a gaston flustered me slightly as I couldn’t reach it easily, so had to make a dynamic move to catch it with just a thumb before putting the rest of my fingers on. It was hard but I was beginning to get pumped (much earlier then I would have liked) so had to move on. I was getting more and more pumped, and got a small shake on a large flat hold, before a long move out left to a crimp, then a big move to a hold on a volume. I remember seeing the hold while sequencing, but on the route I forgot it was there completely so went for the volume itself. Needless to say it was terrible and I was off. I was frustrated, partly at the fact I had got pumped so quickly but mainly because I’d been stupid enough to miss a crucial hold. 1 other came off in the same place as me, but as he was marginally quicker he finished ahead of me so I remained in 10th place.
It all comes with experience, and as it was my first final I was just glad to be there, anything else was a bonus. This time it was not to be, but next time I want to not only make the final but perform in that as well as I did in the qualifiers. Next comp is the BLCCs in October, then the European Championships in November! Time to train!!!!!